Open a form to report problems or contribute information

1 Introduction 2 Message details 3 Upload file 4 Submitted

Help and advice for Wirksworth

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

If you wish to report a problem, or contribute information, then do use the following form to tell us about it.



Archives and Libraries

The Wirksworth Library at the Town Hall on Coldwell Street is normally open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and they have a Local Studies and Family History section to help you in your search.

Neil THEASBY has a photograph of the Town Hall (and Library) on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2015.



  • DOXEY, Jack - O'er Back and on the Hillock. Wirksworth & District Historical Society, 2002. ISBN 0-906753-15-5.
  • DVDReview - Wirksworth: A Town of Stone and Steam. Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Association, 2006.
  • JONES, Brian - Beyond The Copper Beech. Published by the Author, 2008. No ISBN.
  • PRIESTLEY, Frank - The Wirksworth Saga. Pipers Ash (Chippenham), 2003. No ISBN.
  • Wirksworth in Old Picture Postcards. European Library, 2000. ISBN 90 288 2200 3.


A cemetery of three acres was opened here in 1854 in the north end of the town with two small mortuary chapels and consecrated in 1856. It has always been under the management and control of the Urban District (Town) Council.

Alan HEARDMAN has a photograph of Wirksworth Cemetery on Cemetery Lane on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2009.

There was also a small Baptist cemetery in North End prior to 1912.



  • The parish was in the Wirksworth sub-district of the Belper Registration District.
  • Census transcripts are online at Wirksworth.Org.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1861 R.G. 9 / 2517 thru 2519 & 2524 & 2542
1891 R.G. 12 / 2750 & 2776


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Wirksworth area or see them printed on a map.


Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin.
  • The first Christian church built here is recorded in 653 AD.
  • The Anglican parish church was built in the 13th century on the site of earlier Saxon churches. The style is termed English Gothic.
  • A clock was added to the church tower in 1848.
  • The church chancel was restored in 1855.
  • The church seats about 700.
  • An excellent photograph of the church is at at Flickr.
  • Chris GUNNS has a photograph of The Church of St. Maryon Geo-graph, taken in June, 2017.
  • Gordon GRIFFITHS has a photograph of the Church Interior on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2013.

Church Records

  • The parish register entries for baptisms date from 1610 and for marriages and burials from 1608.
  • The parish register for 1600 through 1900 is online at Wirksworth Org.
  • The church was in the Wirksworth Deanery.
  • The Congregationalist Chapel in Caldwell Street was founded in 1700 and restored in 1868.
  • This Independent chapel was formally used by the Presbyterians, but was re-opened in 1703 by the Independents.
  • The baptisms at the Free Methodist Church are available at the London Family History Centre covering 1888-1891 and 1912-1914.
  • Gordon GRIFFITHS has a photograph of the Methodist Chapel on Warmbrook Street on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2013.
  • And John M. has a photograph of Dale Chapel founded in 1856 on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2011.
  • The United Reformed Church was built in Coldwell Street around 1880.
  • David HALLAM-JONES has a photograph of the United Reformed Church building on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2014.
  • The first Baptist Chapel opened here in 1816.
  • The Baptist Chapel on Coldwell Street was erected in 1885 and could seat 300 people.
  • Peter BARR has a photograph of the Baptist Church on Coldwell Street on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2010.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Wirksworth sub-district of the Belper Registration District.

Correctional Institutions

Christine JOHNSTONE has a photograph of The Old Lock Up on the north side of Wirksworth on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2016. It was built in 1842 and contained four cells.

Records of incarcerations are unlikely to be found. You best place to look for information is in the local newspapers.


Description and Travel

"WIRKSWORTH is a market-town, in the parish of its name, which is partly in the hundred of Wirksworth, and extending into those of Appletree and High Peak; 139 miles from London, 48 S.S.E. from Manchester, 20 S.E. from Buxton, 14 S. by W. from Chesterfield, the like distance N.N.W. from Derby, 6 N.W. from Belper, and 3 S. from Matlock Bath; situate near to the direct road from the metropolis to Manchester. In Domesday survey it is called Werchesvorde, but, according to vulgar tradition, it took its derivation from the circumstance of malefactors being condemned to work in the lead-mines here, and their labours proving valuable, it was said their work is worth, hence the easy transition to its present mode of spelling."

[Description from Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835]

In 1857, Wirksworth contained 11 townships. Ashleyhay is a hamlet and former township just south of Wirksworth. Hopton  is a township in the union of Ashbourne, 2 miles west-by-south from Wirksworth station. Callow  is also a township in the union of Ashbourne, 2 miles south-west of Wirksworth.

Passenger rail service ended in 1947 but has recently started up again.

You can see pictures of Wirksworth which are provided by:





Ask for a calculation of the distance from Wirksworth to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.


Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Wirksworth has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



There is evidence that lead was mined in this area as early as the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (2nd century AD).

Brian WESTLAKE has a photograph of the Red Lion Hotel on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2016.

Graham HOGG has a photograph of the Royal Oak on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2012.

David BEVIS has a photograph of the The Lime Kiln pub. on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2009.

There was a Temperance Hall on Chapel Lane, erected in 1860 and managed in 1912 by H. B. SNOW.


Medical Records

  • The Wirksworth Cottage Hospital was established in 1867 and had 7 beds.
  • There was no requirement for archiving patient records. Administrative and financial records will be found int the local Archives office.
  • There are Board of Management minutes at the National Archives.
  • In 1912, Miss Clara WOODCOCK was the matron of the hospital.
  • In 1947 the hospital was taken over and managed as part of the National Health System.

Military History

In 1912, the Territorial force stationed here was E Company of the 6th Btln. of the Sherwood Foresters; Lieut. William Ernest V. TOMPKINS, commanding; srgt-instructor John TURNER, drill instructor. Lieut. TOMPKINS was the manager of the Capital Counties Bank Ltd. in St. John Street.

In 1912 in the hamlet of Hopton resided Lieut.-Col. Harry Anthony CHANDOS-POLL-GELL. He would die in 1934 at age 62 after rising to the rank of Brigadier-General. His father had been the High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1885-86.

Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the War Memorial and garden on St John's Street on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2011.


Military Records

  • There is a gray stone plaque War Memorial for World War I and a brass plaque for World War II, both in St. Mary's Church. The names are listed at Wirksworth War Memorial.

Politics and Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Derbyshire and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • This parish of Wirksworth also contained a township called "Wirksworth".
  • This parish was the heart of the ancient Wirksworth Hundred (or Wapentake).
  • Ashleyhay : township was in the Appletree Hundred. This township was incorporated as a separate, modern Civil Parish in December, 1866.
  • Neil THEASBY has a photograph of Wirksworth Town Hall on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2015. This Town Hall was built in 1871 and purchased by the Town Council for its use in 1902.
  • In 1894, under the "Local Government Act" of that year, the parish formed an Urban District Council. In 1972, this was organized as a Town Council. You may contact the Town Council on civic and political matters, but they are NOT staffed to do family history work for you.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • In 1719 Sir Philip GELL, baronet, endowed four almshouses in Hopton for poor persons. The first was occupied in 1722.
  • Humphrey BOLTON has a photograph of Gell's Bedehouses on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2014.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poorlaw Amendment Act reforms, this parish became part of the Belper Poorlaw Union. Hopton township and Callow township both became part of the Ashbourne Poorlaw Union.
  • Bastardy cases had been heard at the Red Lion Inn until around 1890.
  • Bastardy cases would be heard at the Wirksworth petty session hearings at the Town Hall every other Tuesday at 11am.
  • Bastardy cases for Ashleyhay would be heard in the Belper petty session hearings every other Thursday.


  • A grammar school at Wirksworth was founded in 1584 by Anthony GELL and others.
    (Ref: A History of Derbyshire, Gladwyn TURBUTT, 1999)
  • Neil THEASBY has a photograph of Old Grammar School which opened in 1576 on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2015. This building is the replacement building, erected in 1827/28.
  • A National School was opened in North End in 1851.
  • John M. has a photograph of Wirksworth C of E Infant School on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2011.